It can be very difficult to find information on the science behind the benefits of hot springs in English. So I turned to France to get a sense of the proven medicinal benefits of springs.
Photo by Romaineolas (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The French health care system has included “thermal medicine” since 1947. There is a national network of springs spas that provide services covered by the healthcare system, called CNETh. Each spring has certain specialties, maybe rheumatism, psoriasis, or cardiac diseases. There is a cancer recovery cure system of 11 or 12 days. You can easily find a spa that will treat your particular ailment by using this central website. Your doctor will prescribe the cure and when you attend the spa you will be supervised by a team of doctors and nurses who are trained in thermal medicine.
About 73% of the prescribed cures in France are for rheumatoid diseases while 11% are for respiratory ailments. Thermal cures are also used for digestive and skin ailments, psychological and developmental difficulties. Although its use is fairly widespread, thermal medicine only represents about 0.14% of the overall health budget.
In 2004, the national association started a fund to support research into thermal medicine. The results of these studies can be found here. My favourite study was on generalized anxiety disorder, with the control group on a prescription for paroxitene. After 8 weeks, there was a significant improvement for the springs group.
Here at Hot Springs Aficionado, we try to visit hot springs or spas at least once a month because we can feel a positive effect on our bodies and our minds. We plan to share a lot more information about how hot springs affect us and how we can use hot springs to bring wellness to our busy modern lifestyle – follow us on social media or by email to learn more about hot springs and health.
As a teaser, here is a video of the pool Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to recover from bouts of polio so that he could continue serving as President of the United States.